Footco Orthopedic is a Chicago area provider of clinical services, orthotic fabrication and educational products since 1984 under the direction of Tim Porcelli, LC Ped, L.E.O.
Tim Porcelli entered the field in the early 1970s, at a time when the fabrication of foot orthoses was in the domain of a guild specialty. There were no formal programs available at that time that concentrated entirely on foot orthoses. Tim was tutored by masters of orthotic fabrication and biomechanics and was hired to implement their techniques at the Orthotic Lab of the Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine (ICPM).
This was during the orthotic revolution of mid-70s when the biomechanics framework of contemporary podiatry was being established on the West coast by Merton Root and his colleagues. Root and associates had re-examined the 1950s orthopedic research of Verne T. Inman, MD (and those who followed) in such a way as to extrapolate specific techniques for measuring and assessing subtalar and midtarsal joint alignment. This marked the beginning of contemporary applied lower extremity biomechanics in the United States.
Prior to this era, orthotic alignment was based on the texts of William Scholl and his contemporaries. External orthotic “wedging” was now being replaced with forefoot and rearfoot “posting”. The concept of subtalar neutral position had just been established.
Tim was instrumental in bringing these concepts into the educational program at ICPM and collaborated with the teachers at ICPM over the course of his first year to develop a curriculum to teach casting and orthotic fabrication. The Orthotic Lab grew in popularity and went from producing 10 pairs a week to producing dozens of custom orthoses per week. Materials research and gait studies led to the development of sports orthoses and activity-specific designs. During this time, Tim collaborated with Rick Lundeen (then student assistant) and Dr. Hennesey in researching basic elements of gait with the Kistler Force Plate at ICPM. It was during this time that they collectively determined the basic calibrations for the Kistler Plate and other similar force plates that followed. Tim applied this data via “instrumented” gait studies to assess the various dynamic components of “flexible forefoot valgus” and orthotic effects. It was a pivotal time for lower extremity applied biomechanics. The prototype of the “tri-axial” posting technique emerged from these collaborations.
In 1980 Tim brought this program to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and integrated it with the Orthotics and Prosthetics clinical department. At RIC there was much enthusiasm from the physical therapy department in collaborating with Tim to design hybrid orthoses for use with the neuro-muscular patient population. It was during this time that Tim explored and implemented various approaches to enhancing proprioceptive feedback via foot and ankle alignment, and spent a significant amount of time working with the patient population of post-CVA , pediatric cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and many other neuro-muscular disorders. The “Porcelli Orthosis” aka ACFO (ankle-calcaneal-forefoot-orthosis) was developed around this time.
It was the first of the dynamic supra-malleolar braces to be patented for use with post CVA patients as an alignment device that integrated proprioceptive-enhancement.
In addition to the neuro-muscular cases, Tim also worked with athletes and runners, designing custom orthoses for sports-specific use.
Tim has also been very active as an educator. He taught as an adjunct faculty member of Northwestern University Medical School from 1980 through 2000, and played a large role in developing the curriculum for the study of lower extremity orthoses per the certificate course for pedorthists. During this time Tim lectured nationally at many O&P conferences and allied health conferences.
In 1989, under Tim’s supervision, Footco began producing educational videos for practitioners of O&P: “Casting the Foot” and “Cast Modifications”. In 1990 Tim pioneered the first interactive CD ROM for the O&P field.These educational products circulated widely in the first few years, reaching all parts of the world. Many education institutions purchased them for use in their certificate programs.
In 1990, Tim went independent and began practicing in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago where he shared space with legendary Acupuncturist Dan Plovanich, and many other holistic care practitioners at the Chicago Acupuncture Clinic. When Dan retired in October 2020 Tim moved to 2650 W. Montrose.
Footco currently serves people of all ages, from infants to senior citizens. Tim has also worked with many of the professional sports teams in Chicago. Tim is available for house calls in extreme cases where patients are not able to arrange transportation to the clinic.
In 2015 Tim began teaching again via the Lower Extremity Biomechanics Education Series of courses for healthcare professionals. The courses are designed for continuing education credits for those who are certified in a related medical specialty.